Nets sharpshooter Joe Harris was dominated out for Friday’s matchup in opposition to the Milwaukee Bucks with what the crew is looking left knee soreness.
Head coach Jacque Vaughn mentioned Harris reported some soreness in his knee after Friday’s pregame walkthrough.
“So, we believe him,” Vaughn mentioned forward of tip-off. “And we’re gonna rule him out.”
Vaughn mentioned Harris was set as the primary participant off the bench behind a beginning lineup of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, Royce O’Neale and Nic Claxton earlier than the late scratch.
“It does change things,” Vaughn mentioned of Harris’ absence. “We’ll have to look at how we can get an advantage tonight [against the Bucks] strategically — when we want to play small. If we want to play small, if we’re going to add another guy to the mix. We’re still going to talk through that after this.”
RESPECT FOR BEN
Budenholzer says Nets star Ben Simmons creates a unique problem in game-planning for the Nets than the iteration of the crew that featured James Harden.
“He’s such a unique player, Ben Simmons, he brings a lot to the table particularly defensively,” Budenholzer mentioned of Simmons forward of tipoff in opposition to the Nets on Friday. “Again we’ve performed him extra with different groups [the Philadelphia 76ers], however he can actually change the sport on that finish of the court docket. And then his play making, his means to get within the paint, facilitate, cross, his imaginative and prescient, so it’s totally different (from making ready for the Nets with Harden).
“I don’t think I can pretend to know [what it’s going to look like with Simmons fully healthy]. I’m sure they’re still, to some degree, trying to figure it out, too. But we have a lot of respect for Ben Simmons and what he brings to both sides of the floor.”
Budenholzer’s Bucks have a protracted historical past with the Nets, highlighted by the electrical second-round sequence that went to Game 7 in 2021. The Nets have been battered with out Kyrie Irving (ankle) and a hobbled Harden (hamstring), however pressured additional time on a miraculous, toe-on-the-line two from Kevin Durant that just about received the sport on the buzzer.
The Bucks received in additional time, defeated the Atlanta Hawks within the Eastern Conference Finals, then defeated the Phoenix Suns, 4-2, to win the 2021 NBA Finals.
Both Budenholzer and Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn mentioned their groups tried to deal with Friday’s showdown like every other recreation, however the historical past between the 2 groups gave each side added motivation.
“They’re such a good team, have so much talent. There’s a lot of respect for their whole group,” Budenholzer mentioned. “We try and have the same approach every night, but players are players, and I think they enjoy the challenge of going against the best guys in the league, the best teams in the league, and these guys have always been that.”
BUCKS’ MIDDLETON STILL NOT RIGHT
Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer says injured All-Star ahead Khris Middleton is “making progress probably not at the rate that [the team] had hoped.”
Middleton has not performed since sustaining a proper knee damage in Milwaukee’s Dec. 15 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Wednesday’s matchup in opposition to the Nets marked the fourth consecutive missed recreation for the star ahead, whose season didn’t begin till Dec. 2 resulting from offseason wrist surgical procedure.
Budenholzer mentioned Middleton nonetheless wants to regulate to the pains of the NBA schedule. Milwaukee’s coach mentioned the crew had hoped their star ahead would return earlier than the top of their five-game street journey, however Wednesday marked Game 3 of the journey and Middleton’s standing stays unclear.
“He only played four or five games so there’s still that being ready for an NBA game and all that goes into that,” Budenholzer mentioned forward of tip-off in opposition to the Nets at Barclays Center on Friday. “So we’ll see how the next 24-48 hours go but I know I said it at the beginning of the (road) trip that we hoped he’d be playing by the end of it. Now we’re getting closer to the end, but we’ll see what happens in the next 24-48.”
Budenholzer says the Bucks stay inspired by Middleton’s progress and hope to protect him for the top of the season.
“I’d say overall we’re encouraged and I think he’s in a good place,” he mentioned. “He’ll play when he’s ready. It’s a long season. We have to be patient. It’s hard for Khris, it’s hard for us, but keep the big picture in mind.”
Middleton is averaging 11.1 factors and 4.4 assists per recreation this season however is a perennial All-Star in Milwaukee in search of his footing to assist Giannis Antetokounmpo because the Bucks pursue a championship. He has averaged not less than 20 factors and 4 assists in 4 of the previous 5 seasons.